Being Weird is Great for Community

It’s OK to be weird, if anything it’s good that you’re weird. The old adage to “just be yourself” rings true and you should embrace it by embracing other people who are being true to themselves (remember that being weird doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk). We know that having a diverse team is better than a monolithic one and that is also accurate when it comes to how people think about the world around them regardless of their background. Communities benefit when “weird” people are a part of them. So go ahead, be weird and accept other people’s weirdness too.

As Joan Didion put it, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” It’s something I like to remember whenever I start worrying that I’ll never be successful because I hadn’t heard of Joan Didion until a few years ago. We do tell ourselves stories, and it matters what type of stories we tell ourselves. The people I met for my book told themselves more positive stories about their lives — about why they were still just as good, even though they were different. For instance, I interviewed a “choice” mom — one who had a baby on her own through artificial insemination — who focused on how much easier it was to make all of your own parenting decisions. A poor kid who went to a ritzy private school emphasized the advantages he did have, rather than the European vacations he missed out on.

They seemed to understand that if no one else is okay with you, you have to be okay with yourself. You have to be ready to embrace your weirdness.

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An Inspiring Vision for the Future of Canada Post

Canada Post is changing and the workers at the company want to see it grow to be more than just package delivery. They’ve looked at other postal services around the world for inspiration and see a very green, community-focussed future. A simple improvement is postal banking which is popular around the world yet doesn’t exist in Canada. The neatest ideas for the future of Canada Post is to turn their retail locations into green energy hubs and on-demand support for an ageing population.

Among the ideas proposed by the Delivering Community Power campaign:
-Electric vehicle charging stations at post offices;
-Converting the postal fleet to made-in-Canada electric vehicles;
-Assistance to vulnerable people via check-ins on seniors and those with limited mobility;
-Public financial services as a means of financial inclusion and green investment; and
-Delivery of groceries and medicines.


Many of these ideas were presented by CUPW during their negotiations with Canada Post and will be presented during arbitration hearings.

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A Community Built Around Ending Homelessness

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A community sprouted up outside of Austin, Texas with the goal of bringing people together to help end homelessness. Community First! Village started from a Texan developer trying to help his local community and has now grown into a fully functioning small town. Anyone is welcome to join as long as they pay rent, which is below market rates. Part of the effectiveness of the community is that they provide on-site jobs for tenants; perhaps the most important part of the community is the community itself.

“Before I moved here, I honestly didn’t think my life would have anything other than being a homeless drug addict,” Devore says. He’d lived in an apartment for two brief stints during the years he was homeless and once held a steady job. But old habits were hard to break. “I hung out with the same people. I didn’t know any of my neighbors. I was living the same life, just with shelter,” he says. “Eventually I decided I wanted to get high more than I wanted to pay rent. If nothing changes in someone’s life, when the money runs out, they’re going right back to where they were.”


Like any small town, there’s a lot to do here: You can get your hair cut at the hair salon, take your dog to the dog park, shop at the Community Market, help out at the garden, cook in one of the communal kitchens. The village’s design has been optimized for socialization: There are no backyards, only front porches, adorned with potted plants, patio furniture, and the occasional bike. Without plumbing or running water, the tiny homes are grouped around shared bathroom, shower, and laundry facilities. Residents regularly gather for neighborhood dinners in one of four outdoor kitchens, open 24/7.

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Safer Cities Stem from Active Communities

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In the 1990s former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani popularized the broken window theory which is a zero tolerance approach to getting rid of crime. At first it proved successful and the approach spread, only later was it revealed that other factors were at work. Today, the solution to fighting crime and bringing life back to communities isn’t by cracking down on the people living there – it’s to empower them. In order to do this it means changing the streetscape from car-focused to people focused and giving people agency around what the spaces are redesigned for.

Busy streets have less crime

These surface-level environmental changes turned out to have profound economic and societal effects on this part of central Flint.

We surveyed residents there in 2014—before the intervention began—as well as in 2016 and 2017. We are now preparing the results of the Flint study for publication in an academic journal, but here’s a snapshot of our findings.

the coalition’s latest report, assaults decreased 54 percent, robberies 83 percent and burglaries 76 percent between 2013 and 2018.

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Use Technology to Mobilize Your Community

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The current federal leadership in the USA has many people concerned about their rights and freedoms. If you’re one of those people you can use these technological tools to help you stand up and fight back. Newsweek, rather surprisingly, compiled a list of tech tools that can be used to mobilize communities or be used to fund campaigns you support. As always, be sure to protect your online privacy and maybe even your in-person privacy. With the recent revelation of the Vault 7 leaks to Wikileaks it’s more important than ever before to speak up and stay safe.

Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants aims to take down what it calls “racist” websites by attacking their ad dollars. Since many companies rely on programmatic advertising, they might not be aware of what sites their ads appear on. Thus, Sleeping Giants notifies companies, requesting that they take action and block the offending websites, or risk alienating their customers. So far, they claim over a thousand brands have committed to removing their ads from such sites.

5 Calls
This app aims to get even the most phone-shy people to call their elected representatives daily. 5 Calls automates the process, providing numbers to officials based on the user’s location and offers easy scripts to follow. It’s available on Apple and Android devices. If only there was an app like this for calling one’s parents.

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